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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

At Assam rally, PM Modi says confusion is being created over citizenship bill

PM Modi’s northeast visit on Saturday saw protests by various groups over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2019 14:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amingaon, Assam
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a public rally at Amingaon on Saturday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a public rally at Amingaon on Saturday.(Photo: Twitter/@BJP4India)

In the backdrop of ongoing protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Assam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made a strong pitch for the controversial legislation that is pending in Parliament. PM Modi said the opposition parties are “creating confusion over the citizenship bill”.

He said, “A confusion is being created over the citizenship bill. You need to beware of the intention of those doing so...They are all ‘mahamilawati’ (highly adulterated) parties.”

“We should understand the difference between those who infiltrate India to capture the resources of the country and those fleeing their countries following persecution on the ground of religious belief…It is the obligation of India to protect such people,” PM Modi said.

Follow live updates here: In Assam, Modi says infiltrators have no place in India, govt committed to citizenship bill

Attempting to allay fears expressed by those protesting the citizenship bill, the prime minister said, “Citizenship to the migrants will be given only after proper verification. It will not be done without the recommendation of the state government,” he said.

PM Modi asserted that the citizenship bill “is not a subject related to Assam only…it is about the entire country…it is about those who love Mother India…whether they came from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh…”

He began his speech by invoking late Bhupen Hazarika to lash out at the previous central governments for “taking several decades to honour” the renowned Assamese poet-singer. He said, “I leave it up to you to decide who is responsible for the delay of decades in honouring Dr Bhupen Hazarika” and recognising the “true gem of Assam”.

“I pay my tributes to Dr Bhupen Hazarika. He raised his voice for the deprived and the poor,” PM Modi said at Amingaon in Guwahati. He talked about central government schemes aimed at development in the northeast.

PM Modi said the interim budget allocated more than 21 per cent fund compared to the previous year for the north-east. “This shows our commitment to the north east,” he said.

The prime minister said the opposition is abusing him as the government has launched a drive against corruption. “Those who had fled the country after committing corruption are being brought back and made to face justice,” he said.

On Saturday morning, PM Modi was shown black flags for the second consecutive day over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Various groups including the All Assam Students Union (AASU), the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) have been opposing the citizenship bill.

The citizenship bill seeks to provide citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan following persecution on religious ground. Passed by the Lok Sabha during the last Winter Session, the bill is awaiting nod from the Rajya Sabha.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi visited Itanagar and unveiled a series of development projects in the Arunachal Pradesh capital. He also laid foundation stone for the construction of greenfield airport at Hollongi.

The prime minister said the Hollongi airport will be the first regular passenger airport. At present, the nearest airport to Itanagar is at Lilabari in Assam at a distance of 80 km.

Addressing a public rally, PM Modi talked about central government schemes including Ayushman Bharat or PMJAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) and recently launched PM Kisan. The prime minister said about 11 lakh people have been benefitted within 150 days of the launch of PMJAY, which he also referred to as “Modicare”.

Blaming the previous central government for “not focusing on the development of the northeast”, PM Modi said, “When tourism flourishes, everyone earns…the tourist guide, the shopkeeper, the hotelwalla and also the chaiwalla…The northeast has immense potential for development of tourism.”

He also laid the foundation stone of Sela tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh, which will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang Valley for civilians as well as security forces throughout the year. The tunnel will reduce travel time to Tawang by an hour and boost tourism and related economic activities in the region.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Feb 09, 2019 14:06 IST